Winning at suitcase wars

The 30th of July will mark two months of living out of suitcases for our family. It hasn’t been easy or fun, but we are surviving! We hope to be able to move into our apartment by the 1st, Lord willing! There are a few things we have done to make it tolerable. This is by no means our first long-term suitcase living, but it is the longest so far (and hopefully ever). As the hotel staff was unloading our cart of 14 suitcases, they kindly asked how long our stay in Peru was going to be. When John told him a year, he understood our excessive amount of bags :).

We’ve learned a lot over this summer, and in past trips. If you find yourself having to travel with little ones for an extended amount of time, here are a few tips to make things go smoother:

1. If you’re like me and you find you somehow collect tote bags (mostly those free ones that come with a purchase at stores), gather them all together – now is when they come in handy! We pack in large suitcases and then separate things into tote bags within the suitcase. For example, in one large rolling duffle, I packed each of the kids clothes into their own colored tote. In a separate bag for each they also have their pjs, underwear, socks and swimsuits. Shoes go into another tote within the duffle. When we arrive at a new place it’s easy to pull out the bags and stick them in a drawer or even just pull what we need out of the bags each day if there’s nowhere to unpack.

2. I also picked up these handy little toiletry totes on Amazon that have been hugely helpful. You can keep them packed with each person’s toothbrush, paste, shampoo, hair products, etc. and they go straight into a suitcase. Then just pull them out when you get to where you’re going. I also use one for our laundry things – soap nuts, wool dryer balls, a tide pen, dirty clothes bag, etc.

3. Another helpful item I purchased was a set of pop up hampers. These have been super helpful in giving a place for the kids toys and books as well as laundry.

4. On that same line are the fabric storage cubes that food flat in the bottom of a suitcase, but become irreplaceable for organizing things in a hotel room. We use one to gather any food or snacks we have. We always pick up some fruit, nuts or seeds, raisins, etc. for the kids. A favorite snack here in Peru are the huge creamy avocados that we get for 4 soles (about $1.50 USD). They’re literally the size of a large mango! It’s great to have a place to keep all these items together without crowding out the small desk in our room.

5. And lastly, we travel with a small accordion folder to keep track of all the important papers we accumulate along the way. It easily fits inside a hotel safe, if necessary, and doesn’t take up much space.

So those are my humble tips! Feel free to share ways that have made long-term travel work for you!


5 thoughts on “Winning at suitcase wars

  1. Hi Tiffany! I found your blog via FAO spouses. I love your tips. Even though I don’t have kids they are helpful. The hubby and I have been living out of a suitcase for a month now and it is getting a little old, haha! The hubby does keep an accordion folder–it just makes keeping track of all those important papers so much easier! Hopefully it will only be a few more weeks until we get a place and get settled in. We are in Ljubljana, Slovenia. I’ve always wanted to visit Peru!

    P.S. I have a blog too if you’d like to check it out. I haven’t posted much about Ljubljana yet, but I plan to soon!


    • Thanks for the note, Christine! I’ll checkout your blog – I love reading about other FAO experiences! I hope you find a place soon! We are still awaiting our move-in date and have had to extend our stay at the hotel again…that’s the life, though! 🙂


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